I tend not to do too many celebrity oriented things. Mainly because these days everyone's a celebrity; talented or not, and also there are so many photographers and PRs, that the chances of getting a creative shot becomes next to impossible.
However, when AP asked if I'd like to cover the UK premiere of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino's new film, I jumped at the opportunity. These gents are probably my favourite actors. They are truly talented and I've been hooked on their films for many years. I would love to photograph these gents properly in a one on one situation, but alas the situation has yet to present itself.
So, the next best thing, was a movie premiere. As I mentioned already, there are many issues in this environment. Far too many photographers being one of them (which results in too many screams to get "eye line" and practically no chance of directing the subject. On top of this, we're all squashed into a pen like sardines and on ladders). I didn't do a count, but in the photographers' pen at the end of the red carpet there must have been at least 35. I was relatively lucky in getting a central spot on the second row, so my trusty step ladder came into play.
Alas, as De Niro and Pacino appeared, it all went wrong! Naturally they did the rounds signing autographs for the fans and then the line of ever increasing TV interviews. They kept criss-crossing in front of us (which gave an opportunity for a few "candid" frames, but nothing amazing as there were people in the way and messy backgrounds). Finally it was our turn. Whilst the PRs controlling the event had dutifully got several "celebrities" to pose for us, when it came to the reason most of us were there, they managed a group shot! This included De Niro and Pacino, but also "50 Cent" and the film's director Jon Avnet. Whilst these are definitely pictures worth having, for me, the main picture was of Robert and Al. I kept thinking how hard could it be to have these gents walk down the red carpet towards the photographers? All they would need to do was walk ten meters whilst talking with each other and then do a minute or two's worth of posing and working the line.
This simple thing wasn't to happen though and a group shot was all we got. This is pretty typical though of these huge photo calls. Too many photographers, too much shouting, too many agents, carers and PRs. Luckily the situation was half saved when the actors appeared on the cinema's balcony, first individually and then as a group.